Lawsuit alleges Wells Fargo failed promptly to investigate rape allegation
Wells Fargo is under scrutiny for its response to an employee reporting a rape. According to a California lawsuit, it took Wells Fargo almost a year for the bank to investigate the incident. The plaintiff, a former wealth adviser at the bank, claimed that Eric Pagel, a colleague, raped her on a business trip. According to a source familiar with the matter, Pagel is a senior investor strategist and managing director who continues to work for Wells Fargo. According to the lawsuit, Pagel was a senior investment strategist and managing director who allegedly raped her in January 2020. She reported the incident to the bank’s ethics hotline, in November of the same year. The plaintiff’s clients were reassigned and she was exempted from lucrative accounts and key client communications. The complaint states that Wells Fargo delayed investigating the case and the plaintiff had to resign in July 2021. A former wealth advisor at Wells Fargo claims she was raped in January 2020 by a colleague. “We take all allegations regarding misconduct very seriously and are currently reviewing the lawsuit,” the bank stated. “Cooper Neill/Bloomberg The bank stated that it takes all allegations of misconduct very seriously, and is currently reviewing the lawsuit. The plaintiff, who was a Wells Fargo employee in Southern California, filed the suit anonymously. She was told by Ron Zambrano (the plaintiff’s attorney) that the bank had not yet interviewed the potential witnesses to Pagel’s alleged misconduct. According to Zambrano, Wells Fargo refused to permit the plaintiff to keep a record of the conversations she had with the bank about the case. According to Zambrano, “The action itself was gross, and the failure to react from the employer is just like gross.” The commission is the federal agency tasked with investigating workplace discrimination.According to the EEOC, companies that receive reports of sexual harassment are required to develop anti-harassment efforts that include: timely responses and investigations; investigators who document all steps taken; mechanisms to determine whether individuals who file reports experience retribution; and the authority to impose sanctions on those who engage in retaliation.Harassment includes actual or attempted rape or sexual assault under the EEOC’s definition.Investigations are required to be prompt and adequate, said Jenny Schwartz, a partner at Outten & Golden LLP who has represented clients in a range of employment matters, including sexual harassment. Schwartz stated that an adequate investigation involves interviewing the complainant, potential witnesses, and the alleged perpetrators. Schwartz stated that employers are liable in harassment cases regardless of whether the employer is unaware of the situation or attempts to remedy it. All defenses against the employer are removed once you have established that the event occurred. According to the EEOC, harassment is illegal if it leads to adverse employment actions, such as demotion or firing. According to the suit, the plaintiff’s retaliation violated the Fair Employment and Housing Act. This California state law protects employees from harassment, discrimination, and retaliation at work. The law makes employers strictly liable for the actions of their supervisors and agents. According to the suit, damages are sought for unpaid wages and lost earnings, as well as medical expenses and attorneys fees. It also requests a jury trial. The plaintiff’s lawyer stated that this could happen in 2024.